Under the  Dome

Congressman Price, state Sen. Dan Blue to endorse Etheridge

From staff reportsApril 30, 2012 

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge will announce big endorsements for his gubernatorial bid on Monday.

Democratic U.S. Rep David Price and Democratic state Sen. Dan Blue – who at one point considered entering the governor’s race himself – are the biggest names on the list. Price and Blue will appear at a Monday morning news conference for Etheridge.

The former congressman is locked in a dead heat with Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. State Rep. Bill Faison is a distant third.

Earlier in the week, Etheridge’s campaign released a list of 500 educators supporting his bid. Etheridge is a former state superintendent. Cecil Banks, a three-term president of the N.C. Association of Educators, the state’s largest teachers association, is leading the effort.

“The common theme for why these educators support Bob Etheridge is that they know Bob stood up for public education as a county commissioner, a state legislator, as state superintendent of schools and in Congress,” said Banks, who led the association in the ’80s and ’90s. “And they know as governor he will fight to invest in and improve our schools.”

Mansfield mailer ignores attack

In the Democratic lieutenant governor’s race, Linda Coleman is hitting Eric Mansfield with a negative mail piece. But Mansfield’s response is all sunshine and smiles.

The freshman state senator sent a campaign mailer last week that touts his biography and casts himself as an outsider and reformer. (“Rejecting the dead end politics in Raleigh. A different kind of lieutenant governor.”)

It’s so nonpartisan and broad-based it seems like a general election piece, touting his Baptist faith and military experience. Take a look at a PDF of the mailer here.

DNC chair, organizer speak out

The Democratic Party’s national chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, added her voice to President Barack Obama’s by speaking out against North Carolina’s proposed marriage amendment. Prominent Democrats also want to put the legalization of same-sex marriage in the party platform.

At a meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee in Charlotte on Saturday, one member warned that if the amendment passes, gay and lesbian convention delegates may “keep our money in our pockets” at the national convention in Charlotte.

Regardless of the amendment’s fate, some high-profile Democrats are also calling for the party’s delegates to consider a platform plank calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage. South Carolina’s Don Fowler is among four former national party chairs who recently released a statement supporting such a plank.

Churches intensify efforts

The May 8 primary is fast approaching, and both sides of the marriage amendment campaigns have intensified. On Sunday, proponents and opponents held church-related events across the state.

Both sides are working phone banks, canvassing neighborhoods, churning out yard signs and raising money.

Early voter turnout is high, with the first week surpassing even the first week in the 2008 primary election that had Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the ballot.

Recently, the pro-amendment forces sent out a pleading email to followers saying they urgently need money because, for the first time, the possibility of defeat seems real. Recent polling shows the amendment is losing support, and the anti side is winning the fundraising battle and buying more advertising.

On Friday, amendment supporter group Vote for Marriage N.C. leader Tami Fitzgerald sent out another email saying that people had responded and that more than $65,000 had been raised online through 924 donations.

“The clock is ticking down,” Fitzgerald said. “We hope you recognize the vital importance of May 8. North Carolina has a target on her back by activist judges and political action groups that seek to radically redefine marriage for you.”

Staff writers John Frank and Craig Jarvis

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